By Simon Peter Esaku
Junice Akampurira, 12, walks along a winding path from the garden to her home carrying on her shoulder a tray full of fresh maize cobs. Her mother Dinah Tweshengyereze, 37, follows closely at her heels. “We will boil some of the maize cobs and roast others for breakfast,” says the polite, light skinned girl.
There is still a lot of maize in their garden covering approximately two acres in Nyabirungi village about 240 km west of Kampala. “We will dry most of the remaining maize in the garden and grind it into flour to cook porridge or posho [maize bread]. We will also sell some to get money for daily expenses,” Dinah explains.
Today, the family of eight including six children aged between five and 18 will have posho and beans for lunch. The family in Nyabirungi village, Kisiita sub-county, Kibaale district in western Uganda has just harvested several sacks of beans. They also have stock of sorghum and rice.
“We got the maize, bean, sorghum and rice seeds we planted from World Vision,” Dinah says. The family also received orange, mango and pineapple seedlings from the organisation. Dinah’s family is one of the households that received seeds and seedlings from Nalweyo-Kisiita Area Development Programme (ADP). The planting materials were given to households in farmers groups.
“I received the seeds and seedlings in my farmers group called Nyabirungi Guma Group which has 15 members- ten women and five men,” Dinah says. The Child Sponsorship and Development Assistant in Nalweyo-Kisiita ADP- Jane Amito explains, “There are three farmers groups in Nyabirungi village and thirty one in the ADP.”
Besides farm inputs such as seeds, seedlings and spray pumps the farmers also benefitted from numerous sessions of agricultural training that World Vision organised. “We were trained in modern farming methods, large scale farming, adding value to agricultural produce and how to handle produce after harvest,” Dinah narrates.
Dinah says there is evidence to show things have changed in her household. “We always have food in the home and we can afford to change diet,” she says. “Moreover we sell some of produce to get money to meet daily needs,” she adds.
Much of the money comes from the bananas which they maintain using the farming techniques learned from World Vision training. “The money from banana, maize and bean sales helped us build this permanent house. Originally we were living in a grass thatched house,” she remarks. “When we our parents sell produce, they buy us clothes and exercise books,” says Junice, a Primary Six (P.6) pupil.
“We used to grow crops on a small scale only and didn’t have much food or money,” Dinah remembers. They used to get small yield because they were planting poor varieties and used obsolete poor farming methods.
With World Vision support in form of farm inputs and skills, families like that of 12 year-old Junice Akampurira in Nalweyo-Kisiita are improving their food security and household incomes thus living better lives.